Sunday, October 21, 2012

Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
- Mary Flannery O'Connor

Sitting in my Sunday school class today, this quote appeared on the projector during a short video. For some reason it really caught my attention. I quickly typed it into a memo in my phone, and set it aside for further deliberation.

There is no denying that this quote is flawlessly accurate. When we are faced with adversity, the truth of the matter is that it simply will not change itself because of the way we feel about it. The truth doesn't care if you like it or not.

The video went on to explain that this quote can be used to relate to how Americans deal with issues such as world hunger and poverty. If we keep things out of our sight, it is easier to keep them out of mind. We have less guilt at buying another pair of shoes instead of donating leftover cash to charity. We don't have to worry about the kid who will go to bed hungry tonight, we can go out for dinner with a clear conscience. When faced with the truth of our guilt, the issue does not change just because we are uncomfortable with it.

James 4:17 says "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

We know that there is a demand for selfless people in the world, those who step up and care for the needy above themselves. We'd like to think that it isn't our responsibility, "those" people have got it covered. But why sit back? You've been called today to help.

Matthew 25:40- "The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

In the book, "The Hole in Our Gospel", the author talks about a friend of his who cut out all the verses that were about poverty, wealth, justice, and oppression in the Bible. Not because he didn’t believe in those verses, but because he wanted to make a dramatic point that for many Christians in America, we wouldn’t miss those verses at all. We may read and understand them, but until we follow up with actions, we are not living out our faith.

Both my school and church are about to go into full-fledged charity mode, starting with the Kids Against Hunger or "ONE" campaign and the "30 hour famine."

I'm providing links to both of these charities that I'm participating in in the next few weeks. Go ahead and click for further information.

It's a beautiful thing to feel convicted to do something about an issue that affects so many people. There is no better therapy or reward then what is gained by showing compassion and aid to those who can't make it alone. Show Christ through you, today, and everyday.   


Thursday, October 11, 2012

It goes on

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” 
-Robert Frost

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lead singers are very quotable

"Christianity is not about how much faith you have, but about who your faith is in."
-Mike Donehey

In a storm in my best dressed...

“To me, fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.”
- Taylor Swift

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What do you want to do before you die?

One of my favorite shows, MTV's "The Buried Life," asks this question during each episode. The four main guys on the show travel the nation accomplishing their bucket list, while helping others accomplish their own along the way. So far, they've crashed a parade, helped a man find his long lost son, capture a fugitive, donate computers to an elementary school, and so much more. I admire these guys because they took a different approach to how they wanted to live their lives, they wanted to live like they were dying.

What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you regret? I sure don't want to look back on my life and wish I could have seen more things or met more people. I guess you could call it a YOLO mentality, because it's true, you only live once. But that doesn't mean I want to do things I'm going to regret the next day. I don't want to live like there's no tomorrow, I want to experience the best things of today.

My friends and I have always joked around about having bucket lists, we talk about fun and exciting things we want to do, and weird and stupid things we've already done. I'm pretty sure that I was one of the first of my friends to actually sit down and write out everything I wanted to do. It was on a paper plate at my friend Riley's house, and to be honest, I can't find that paper plate anywhere. But from memory, I've recreated my list below.

*Travel Europe
Kiss a stranger
Jump into a pool fully clothed
*Ride a giraffe
See Train in concert
*Be in two places at once
Leave the country
Dine and dash
Get kicked out of a store
*Dunk a basketball
Go through the drive-thru backwards and on foot
Stay up all night 
*Meet Taylor Swift and/or Robert Pattinson

The items that have been starred are what I have yet to do, you could say they are the more lofty of my bucket list goals, but I have no trouble believing that they will get done. On a side note, if some of the items I've already done seem a little out of character for me, I can assure you that they were done without causing harm to my conscience. For instance, I dine and dashed at McDonald's, so I ordered food and then left. I got kicked out of Walmart for wearing a leopard print bra over my clothes, and I kissed a stranger for literally .3 seconds. Plus he turned out to be a very nice boy.

My point is this, I believe that everyone should have a bucket list to call their own. Even though the things on mine may seem silly or unimportant, they are memories I've gained and will gain because I took the initative to do them. It's a very rewarding thing to cross an item off of a list, it's something that you can look back on and smile at what you've accomplished. Why wait until you're dying to live like you're dying?

Isaiah 26:12
"LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us."

Colossians 4:5
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."

Galatians 6:10
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."  


Monday, October 1, 2012

Would you kiss yo mama with that mouth?!

"So I went to the f%*#ing grocery store right?"
Umm no. Please watch your mouth. You sound pretentious and unrefined. You sound like you could use a vocabulary check. Do you even know what that word means? 

I hold the right to use this topic for discussion because for the longest time, I swore like a sailor. Believe it or not, I could curse with the best of them. A lot of my vocabulary consisted of harsh words and dirty jokes. I thought I was being funny, I thought I would get attention from it. It turns out I was trying to fit in for all the wrong reasons.
My thinking was that God didn't care that I swore, I rarely thought of Him anyhow, why would He bother to think of me?

Although I thank my church friends for their commitment to helping me with my walk with Christianity, they went about trying to get rid of this bad little habit of mine completely wrong. I was in 8th grade when I first started going to my church, and it was just for the mid-week youth program. I wouldn't dare cuss while I was there, because there were adults, and I didn't want to get into trouble. But at school I was a loose cannon, I didn't care if I offended anyone, I was just doing what I've always done. 

My church friends would scold me and tell me that swearing was "bad." They got on my case all the time and were not so nice about trying to understand why I held tight to this part of my life so closely. Someone still had yet to explain to me why it was so wrong.

This went on for another good two years I suppose, I had started to call myself a Christian by sophomore year, and I wanted to start acting more like one. At our annual ski-trip, my youth group huddled into one of the hotel rooms we were staying at, and my youth Pastor Tom began his message.

I don't know if he talked about anything other than swearing that night, but I sure don't remember anything else. He talked about how it says in the Bible that we should honor God with our words. Sure it doesn't give us a list of words that we can and cannot say, but if we feel morally convicted to abstain from saying certain things, it's because Jesus is trying to help you understand what He approves of.

That night I felt guilty. Not one of my friends had made me feel bad about the language I used. But when Tom talked about how we need to be a light for the world, I understood that my light was dim, and I needed to let go of something I'd been clinging to for a very long time.

From then on it became a daily struggle to watch my mouth, it was difficult, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done actually. But God blessed me with a clean heart and I was able to drop cussing cold turkey. I would slip up occasionally of course, but over time it's gotten so much easier.
My life has changed for the better since I've cleaned up my mouth, and I'd like to say that my light shines a little brighter. The way I speak sets me apart,when people ask me why I don't swear, it sets me up to explain to them about my faith. It's something I wouldn't be able to do if I hadn't made the decision to change.

I found a whole bunch of verses on cursing, so here's a few of my favorites:

Ephesians 4:29 
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

Ephesians 5:4
"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."

Exodus 20:7
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."

Colossians 3:8
"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."